"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound from microphone to ear, achievable by recognising and controlling the numerous confounding variables that exist along the audio chain. The Harbeth designer's objective is to make loudspeakers that contribute little of themselves to the music passing through them.

Identifying system components for their sonic neutrality should logically proceed from the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance. Deviations from a flat frequency response at any point along the signal chain from microphone to ear is likely to give an audible sonic personality to the system at your ear; this includes the significant contribution of the listening room itself. To accurately reproduce the recorded sound as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would be best advised to select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and will alter the sound balance of what you hear. This may or may not be what you wish to achieve, but any deviation from a flat response is a step away from a truly neutral system. HUG has extensively discussed amplifiers and the methods for seeking the most objectively neutral among a plethora of product choices.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, getting at the repeatable facts in a post-truth environment where objectivity is increasingly ridiculed. With our heritage of natural sound and pragmatic design, HUG is not the best place to discuss non-Harbeth audio components selected, knowingly or not, to introduce a significantly personalised system sound. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various offerings there. There is really no on-line substitute for time invested in a dealer's showroom because 'tuning' your system to taste is such a highly personal matter. Our overall objective here is to empower readers to make the factually best procurement decisions in the interests of lifelike music at home.

Please consider carefully how much you should rely upon and be influenced by the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, loudness and room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you. Always keep in mind that without basic test equipment, subjective opinions will reign unchallenged. With test equipment, universal facts and truths are exposed.

If some of the science behind faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over Harbeth speakers is your thing, this forum has been helping with that since 2006. If you just want to share your opinions and photos with others then the unrelated Harbeth Speakers Facebook page may be for you. Either way, welcome to the world of Harbeth!"

Feb. 2018
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The history of the BBC - Local Radio

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  • The history of the BBC - Local Radio

    When I was a teenager, my introduction to the BBC was as a Saturday assistant at BBC Radio Brighton in the mid '70s, some 45 years ago.

    The world that I was admitted into then is completely sealed-off now on a number of grounds and it is inconceivable that a youngster could be given practically unlimited access to studios.

    Here is a video recorded in 1971, just slightly before my involvement, and captures local radio of the ear. The set-up of BBC radio Brighton, one of the first batch of towns to have their own BBC local station, was practically identical in studio equipment as seen in the following video from about 14 mins onward.

    What might surprise readers is that I vividly recall that Brighton the single, mono 'monitor' speaker in the control room for Studio 1 (14 mins on) was a KEF Concorde, a domestic loudspeaker. Shown at BBC Radio Stoke was the huge BBC-designed LSU10 , shown on the right hand side of the control desk, which was relegated to the less well used studio on the above floor at Brighton.

    Also, just as Radio Brighton and shown at 19:15 in the video, in the Central Equipment Bay a bank of four Leak Troughline FM tuners, used to monitor the transmitter output and also to take a feed from Network radio for rebroadcast. The most memorable sensation was, and still remains in my memory, of the combination of the dead acoustic, and the hot sweet smell of tube equipment.

    Imagine the day in about 1975 when I entered the main control room and there were people standing behind the Studio Manager and admiring the new arrival sitting atop the control desk. We were present at the unveiling of the BBC-designed LS3/5a. It hooked me on loudspeakers. I had to know everything about the shoe box speaker. Who would have believed that I would succeed it's inventor himself.


    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK